Rolling back over on my back, I rubbed the smoothness of my paunch, thoughts of what to eat for breakfast shuffled through my mind. I was hungry and I wanted something heavy, but my bed was so comfortable I couldn't pull up. Just five more minutes I thought to myself. Since I had a gig that morning I thought I could swing over by the local eatery to grab a grilled steak platter combo with chicken and rice. I did, and it was good, as usual. Come rain sleet or shine, the food in Japan is good all the time, I shake my head.
On a cultural note, I was pondering over my steak combo what to do for the holidays. I usual put off traveling until around Feb. when things calm down. 2011 is looking to be a local one for me, again. I'll focus on the cultural aspects this time, too. This year I will do "Oseibo" or year-end gift-giving. Japan has two major gift giving seasons, Oseibo and Ochugen( mid-summer gift giving). The last time I did an Oseibo was back in 2008. I was a member of an English/Japanese speaking circle in Tokyo for a short time. I gave out several bars of Ghana chocolate to everyone in the circle, which took everyone by surprise. They didn't expect I would know about such a custom. Maybe it was the type of gift I gave….( they were 105 yen per bar). According to the custom, the price tag determines the level of the relationship; most expensive would usually go to your boss.
In China there's a custom where you keep the price tag on the product you purchased as a gift. This shows the receiver how much he/she is liked by the giver. Of course in Western countries we remove the price tag as a manner. Well, I forgot to remove the tags on my candy bars. Nobody made a stink about it, just the usual Japanese smile and "arigato."
This Christmas I won't do anything special, but work. Work is always special. I love work. Billy called from Alaska asking whether the Japanese celebrate Xmas or not. I answered, "no!" "why?" he asked. "Japan was never founded on Christian principles and Western religious fundamentalism, that's why," I answered back. This is Asia! But, I continued, Japan is no longer her former self, she is a prostitute for America. Now, we can officially say, Christmas is a part of Japanese culture. Now, we have Japanese Santas who dress up in the red costumes and run around with gifts. This is Asia. Now....Oh, boy! What's next????